Monday, June 17, 2024

Memories of sleeping on the floor in my parents' air-conditioned bedroom

I've lived in just three houses my entire life. The only one that has had central air conditioning is the one I live in now.

Not to get all "back in my day" or anything, but when I was growing up, I don't think central air was a thing. At least not among the middle class people I knew.

When it got hot in the summer, we would usually just sleep on top of the covers with the window open. It wasn't the most comfortable arrangement, but when you're a little kid and don't know any better, it does the trick.

There were times, however, when it was so hot in the evening that even that approach didn't work. That was when my parents would invite me to sleep in their bedroom, which had a luxurious window air conditioning unit.

(I say "luxurious" because it was a powerful 70s-era model designed to cool a space much larger than their bedroom. My dad would crank it way up, too, resulting in meat locker-equivalent temperatures.)

Mom would arrange a little nest of blankets at the foot of their bed for me to sleep on and under. Many times I remember laying there curled up with a smile on my face, happy not only to be comfortable but also to be in the same room as my mom and dad.

It was a level of security and contentment that I have seldom known since.

Not that I don't feel secure and content in my life. I do. But once you become a parent, your job is to provide security and contentment more than to experience it. It's a responsibility those of us with children embrace willingly.

Still, even now when we have the AC on and I'm nestled in bed next to Terry, I often think about those times when I happily slept on the floor in my parents' room.

I can't explain it, but on those nights, I knew I was loved.


  1. This one stayed in my head, Scott. I like how this began as something practical -- how to stay cool -- and ended with a core feeling about childhood and being taken care of and loved that we all (hopefully) can relate to. Great post.